Monsanto Company has announced that it has reached a global licensing agreement for the use of the CRISPR-Cas genome-editing technology in agriculture with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The Broad Institute is a world leader in the development and sharing of CRISPR genome-editing technologies and holds several issued U.S. patents covering CRISPR-Cas technology. The parties, which share a broad-licensing philosophy to enable wide-ranging benefits from proprietary innovations, expect that this non-exclusive license agreement will deliver a wide array of crop improvements to global agriculture.
“The license to CRISPR-Cas from the Broad Institute provides access to an exciting tool for our growing body of genome-editing research,” said Tom Adams, Ph.D., biotechnology lead for Monsanto. “Genome-editing technology is complementary to our ongoing discovery research and provides an incredible resource to further unlock our world-leading germplasm and genome libraries.”
Under the agreement announced, the Broad Institute grants Monsanto a worldwide non-exclusive license for agriculture applications of the CRISPR-Cas technology. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed. “Genome-editing techniques present precise ways to dramatically improve the scale and discovery efficiency of new research that can improve human health and global agriculture,” said Issi Rozen, Chief Business Officer of the Broad Institute.
“We are encouraged to see these tools being used to help deliver responsible solutions to help farmers meet the demands of our growing population.” Genome-editing technologies present another key scientific tool that can deliver breakthroughs in agriculture. CRISPR-Cas works by making precisely-targeted modifications in a cell's DNA, similar to the search-and-replace function in modern-day word processing applications.
Genome-editing technologies, such as CRISPR-Cas, offer a way for scientists to promote site-directed integration of specific genes as well as the opportunity to enhance beneficial or remove undesired plant characteristics. These techniques will enable plant breeders to deliver better hybrids and varieties more efficiently.